South32 in talks with Appin coal mine workers over pay

(Image: Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operation in Australia, courtesy of South32.)

South32 Ltd said on Wednesday it was in pay-related negotiations with its Appin coal mine workers following their threat to stage a partial strike for a week.

Australia’s Mining & Energy Union had earlier announced Appin workers’ intention to stop work for five to six hours across all shifts at the metallurgical coal mine starting Wednesday night till Aug. 31.

The union’s plan to take strike action comes as Australian coal miners are seeing a boom in business, thanks to a surge in demand from Europe, which is trying to cut its reliance on Russian coal.

“South32 Illawarra Metallurgical Coal is currently engaged in enterprise bargaining with employees and their representatives in relation to a proposed new Appin Enterprise Agreement,” the Perth-based miner said.

South32 is expected to show a huge jump in underlying profit when it reports its earnings on Thursday, according to Refinitiv data.

“Now that coal prices and profits are booming and inflation is rising, workers are seeking to have these changed conditions reflected in their new Enterprise Agreement,” said Bob Timbs, the union’s South Western District vice president said in a statement.

Inflation in Australia sped to a 21-year high last quarter and is expected to pile more pressure on food and energy costs, prompting the central bank to take an aggressive rate-hike stance to temper its effect on the cost of living.

(By Jaskiran Singh and Indranil Sarkar; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Anil D’Silva)

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